Grossglockner Hochalpenstraße – Glacier Orchids and “monkeys”

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse with Arctic Orchids. Wirklich?

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse takes you to the highest mountain top you can drive to in Austria. Amazing beauty awaits along the road trip.
At the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe at the Grossglockner, the same floral species grow as in the Arctic mountains. In addition, orchids grow and surprisingly enough:  there are monkeys and fleas!

If you don’t think so, you should take a trip along one of Europe’s most beautiful panoramic roads and look for yourself.


The North Pole of the Alps?

A desert of ice, a thick glacier and a rippling brook: How it looks almost like the North Pole in the heart of the Alps. Only Santa is missing with his sleigh! An excursion along the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße ends in the Arctic desert far above Pasterze, the longest glacier in the eastern Alps. From Bruck, the road cuts through four different climate and vegetation zones on the way to the top of Austria’s highest mountain, and already after a few kilometers, the stunningly beautiful natural setting opens up overlooking the Hohe Dock and Fuscherkarkopf.

Free exhibitions on the way to Grossglockner’s summit

Along the Grossglockner Hochalpenstraße, there are exciting “theme roads” and nine different exhibitions. For visitors, it’s all totally free! At the new exhibition “Gletscher.Leben” at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, visitors can explore the glacial slopes. In fact, it is only a few millimeters large and lives on the ice, although it can also skip larger obstacles at the exhibition.

Free exhibitions on the way to Grossglockner’s summit

Einhorn © Großglockner Hochalpenstraße

Many unique animals near Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse

Nature offers a multitude of both large and small wonders. “Kopf”, “Brennkogel” and “Racherin” are the names of the mighty mountain peaks surrounding the 3,798 meter tall Großglockner in the Hohe Tauern National Park. And at Gamsgrubenweg you can find the small Alpine Polar (Braya Alpina), a beautiful, small, rare flower that only grows in Arctic regions. Here you can also find marmots – the young marmots are called in a humorous way for “monkeys” – as well as the area’s largest flock of boulders. While you can play with snowballs at Hochtor until well into the summer, the mountain meadows transform from mid-August into a true flower paradise: 30,000 orchids open their flowers and seduce both insects and humans.

Grossglockner © Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse / Eduardo Gellner

Grossglockner © Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse / Eduardo Gellner

Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse highlights

Here’s the short version:

Map overview

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